Government has ruled out the return of prolonged periods of erratic power supply following public anxiety that the energy crisis is back.
Deputy Power minister John Jinapor has explained that power cuts over the past two weeks is expected to end in a matter of days.
Public anxiety was triggered after 80% of Ashanti region was plunged in darkness last Monday. The entire region fed on 40 megawatts out of the more than 200MW required. Large communities in Accra were also off Monday night.ghanapoliticsonline.com
Although power supply has not been stable for the past weeks, Monday nights black-out over large areas aroused fears that the crisis locally called ‘dumsor’ is back.
It had died off at the beginning of the year after plaguing the country since the last quarter of 2012.
But explaining the latest round of black-outs, the deputy minister John Jinapor said a internal challenge within the power sector and an external challenge from gas-supplying Nigeria are the causes.
On the local front, he said power plants in the Takoradi enclave in the Western region have been shut down to enable a switch over from using crude oil to using gas.
The thermal plants in the Western region rely on gas from a floating vessel, the FPSO. But because the FPSO had broken down for at least two weeks, the thermal plants had to switch to crude oil to generate power, the deputy minister said.
Announcing good news, John Jinapor said the FPSO has been fixed and is ready to resume gas supply which is cheaper than light crude oil.
But while the operations resume, the thermal plants need to be shut down to reconnect to a gas supplying source.
According to John Jinapor, this takes some odd days to finish the reconnection hence the black-outs in some parts of the country.
One power plant, the AMERI generators has completed the reconnection process and is now adding 225MW into the national grid, he revealed on Joy News’ News Night.
Luv FM’s Ohemeng Tawiah confirmed that the power supply to the Ashanti region has been restored. The region has 250MW powering homes and offices.
The second leg of the power challenge is gas supply from Nigeria which powers most thermal plants in the Tema enclave in the Greater Accra region.
There is renewed vandalism in Nigeria cutting supply of gas through the West African Gas Pipeline, the Deputy minister explained.
He dismissed suggestions that Ghana’s indebtedness to Nigeria is responsible for the cut. The country has been settling its debts regularly according to an agreed payment schedule, he said. According to him, there is an outstanding debt of $80million to be cleared.
Gas supply instability in Nigeria is the reason why the Sunon Asogli power plants in Tema are down. This is affecting homes in the Greater Accra region.
“We have so many plants in Tema which we can run if we have gas” he said.
As a back-up measure, the government has procured enough light crude oil to power thermal plants that can take in oil if gas is unavailable.
CENIT, Kpong thermal power plants are examples of plants that are now being powered by light crude, he explained.
Light crude oil is ‘quite expensive’ he said and expressed hope that the Nigerian problem will not become a long drawn challenge.
Consumers in the next few days can expect a return to normal power supply when thermal plants that have been shut down temporarily would have warmed up to take in gas from the Atuabo Gas in the Western region.
Meanwhile, in mainly the Southern areas, some thermal plants will use light crude oil to generate power, the deputy minister said.
“We are looking at days and not weeks [when regular power supply will be restored]…We are already seeing improvements, but when you are working with machines you have to be a bit cautious”, he said.
Joy News has learnt that large parts of the Central region have gone off. Major towns like Elimina, Praso, Saltpond and some parts of the city, Cape Coast, are in darkness.
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